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Drawn to Antiquity

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, West Midlands, B15 2TT
A drawing by Alma-Tadema - "study of a sandal".


The artist whose work inspired the design for Ridley Scott's Hollywood blockbuster 'Gladiator' comes under the spotlight in this fascinating display.

'Drawn to Antiquity' features twelve drawings from the Lawrence Alma-Tadema Collection at the University of Birmingham's Cadbury Research Library (Special Collections), which holds a total of 584 drawings, 5000 photographs and 4000 books on antiquity from the artist's own collection, as well as more than 300 items of personal correspondence.

Dutch artist Lawrence Alma-Tadema pursued a lifelong fascination with classical subjects, studying and drawing artefacts in the British Museum and other European institutions. These informed his paintings – typically, classical scenes featuring languorous and beautiful figures against lavish marble settings. These, in turn, inspired 'Gladiator' director Ridley Scott and production manager Arthur Max, who dubbed the film's design ethos 'Black Tadema' – a sort of dark twist on the artist's interpretation of antiquity.

The display covers a wide range of Alma-Tadema's interests, life and family, and has been curated by Sarah Kilroy, Head of Conservation and Programming at the Cadbury Research Library.

Book Tickets


Map & Directions

Public Transport Directions

The Barber is just three miles from the centre of Birmingham – we encourage our visitors to use public transport, walk, or cycle where possible.

Train: University Station is across campus – turn left on exiting the station and go straight ahead, following signs. The gallery is on your left when you arrive at the East Gate.

Cross-City Line trains leave New Street station regularly (direction Longbridge/Redditch) and take approximately 10 minutes to travel the two stops.

Bus: there are frequent buses from the city centre to the bottom of nearby Edgbaston Park Road (1A, 61, 63, X20, X21 and X22). Other services from the city and region call at stops surrounding the University campus.

Cycle: there is a cycle rack to the right of the main entrance of the Barber.

Tel: 0121 414 7333

Add Drawn to Antiquity to your Itinerary

Opening Times

11 June 2021 - 21 Sept 2021
Tuesday - Sunday10:00 - 17:00

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